Quality Score for Adwords is a score given to multiple levels of your pay per click account to assess how strong your campaign is, which is basically a quality factor assigned to you from Adwords that is an indication of the strength or quality of the campaign. Working on your quality score is something that over time can be very worthwhile, as if you can increase the QA score on your keywords, ad groups and overall account, then this often leads to better positioning at a cheaper cost per click.
The savings made from having a higher QA score than your competitors can be hard to estimate, but over the past few years the strength of these savings have become more apparent, with large percentages reported from just a small increase in the QA score. Although this score is not something that you should only every concentrate on, it makes sense to try and improve it, as it not only reflects on how good Google thinks your campaign is, but it can save you money, two things that most online firms would love to aspire to achieving.
What Is The Quality Score?
In the most basic form, the QA is a way for Adwords to make sure that only the most relevant and quality adverts are going to be shown to users when they search for a particular term. A little like organic ranking algorithms, Google uses a score, in this case Quality Score, to return the most relevant and likely to convert from a user’s point of view adverts.
Quality Score is a way for AdWords to ensure that relevant and quality ads are returned to users. AdWords uses Quality Score to balance the relevance and quality of ads alongside their CPC bid (ad rank). This score is based on many factors, from an account level through to individual keywords, and whilst Google has never really released the full in-depth coverings of how this score works, they have at least offered pointers of the things you can change to get your score moving up in the right direction.
Rated from 1 – 10, with 1 being the lowest and 10 being the highest, you can see what QA is given to each of your keywords by making sure you have this column added to your reports and generally speaking 7 is a really strong score, with 5 – 6 seeming to be the most common and therefore average scores. Getting a 10 is a nice feeling and something working towards is a worthwhile thing to do, but if you can hit 7 and most importantly stay around that mark, you will be doing something right and hopefully benefit from it.
Why Does Quality Score Matter?
For those that think it has no relevance on anything, then this could not be further from the truth because when Google serves a PPC advert in front of a user, it looks at the max cost per click bid and the quality score to decide who gets the position, pretty much like an auction. So, if you have the biggest bid but the lowest quality score, someone who is bidding less than you but has a higher quality score is going to win the placement, even though you are bidding more for them.
So, imagine if you have a small budget and you work endlessly to improve your score, you can end up beating people with far bigger budgets that are just spending loads and not really trying to make their campaign of a quality nature. If you think of your QA score as reward for actually trying to do things that are quality and the best that they can be, then this is pretty accurate, because you will end up paying less per click for a better placement than someone who is paying more than you for a lower position.
It is important to mention that you will not just implement a load of changes and then see your quality score rise, as not only does it take time, but your QA score also takes into account a lot of account based statistics, including CTR and other factors, but if you know you are doing everything in your power to get things going in the right direction, then it makes logical sense that your other areas will also improve because you are delivering the right results for the user, and therefore should get better rewards from them.
How To Improve Your Quality Score
Although there are many, many factors that can help to increase (or decrease!) your quality score, the key ones that we tend to focus on are listed below, but generally the main thing to take into consideration is the relevance of your keyword, advert and destination point (landing page / website page) as if you can get the relevancy factor high for all three as a group, this has a big impact on your quality score.
So, by making sure that you have the correct keyword, serving the correct advert, in the correct ad group, this is going to really enhance the score you achieve over all three elements, so always keep the relevance of what you are doing in mind and try to keep the ad groups you create really tight and relevant to achieve the best score you can.
Relevant Ad groups
It is important that you set out your ad groups correctly so that you can then add the most related keywords and adverts to these groups, which not only improves your score but also removes a lot of wasted click throughs and spend. For example, if you had a site selling shoes, your first step would be to identify the different makes, sizes and shoes you have. You could then have ad groups for Leather Shoes, Men’s Shoes, Adidas Trainers and so on. So, in your Adidas ad group, your keywords would be all related to Adidas and your adverts would all feature this as well, as you are therefore making sure that your ad group, advert and keyword are all as relevant as they possibly can be.
For some sites, this could be a huge job and some might be put off. But, think of it like this. Someone searching for a specific product landing on a specific page for that product is going to stand more of a chance than converting than someone just looking for something generally. So, if your click through gets you someone who has typed in Adidas trainers, they already know what they want and therefore are further down the sales road. With Adwords try to narrow down to the deepest level, as yes, this is a lot of work but when you use pay per click your job is to get conversions, not traffic, so making sure the user lands at the most relevant point is crucial.
Serving the most relevant advert to the most relevant keyword is not only important from the users point of view but also from a performance point of view, which is why your advert should always be related to the keywords in that list. Many people make the mistake of having adverts that have little or no relevance to the keywords they are bidding on, or, the page they are going to. For example, if you were a plumber and all your keywords where “plumber + location”, yet your adverts featured no mention of the word plumbing or plumbers, then you are going to suffer from a scoring point of view with this.
Try to make sure your advert always features at least two of your main keywords, as from experience this can really help to not only increase the QA but also the CTR, because if the searcher feels like they are going to get exactly what they are looking for when they click through, they are going to be more inclined to click on your advert. Have around 5 adverts per ad group and then monitor the ones that perform the best in terms of CTR and conversions and you can then remove the ones that have a poor performance and either try new ones or let the ones that do work really well take the limelight which in turn is going to help the overall campaign success.
Following on from the advert point above, make sure that the keywords you are bidding on are totally relevant and include the key words that you are trying to get customers for. If your adverts mention the words plumbing, plumbers etc, then you should have keyword terms that also include these words, because once again we are going for the most relevant aspects as a group, which is the keywords and adverts in the most suited ad group. As we have talked about throughout this article, Adwords expects and wants to see the most relevant aspects all grouped together, which helps to get a really good quality score together.
Of course, you should only be bidding on the keywords that you want the clicks for, but this is about bringing the whole package together, meaning that the advert matches the keyword and then the landing page (which we come to below) matches both the keyword and the advert. A user clicking for a plumber in London and ending up on a page for an electrician in Nottingham is not going to be best pleased, so once again, relevance is the key here and will bring the best results in terms of QA score and conversions for your site.
Another aspect that helps your score is your landing page (the page where the visitor clicks through to) as if this landing page is relevant, informative and matches up to all of your previous work complete in Adwords, then it is going to play a part in raising the score that you achieve. For example, if you are selling blue pens and your ad group, advert and keyword feature “blue pens”, then your landing page needs to be the perfect point where you can get more information about blue pens and therefore buy them. Think of landing pages as the final factor before the sale or enquiry, which means make it concise, relevant and have all the factors someone needs to go through and make that sale or enquiry with your company, as this is exactly how Adwords looks at it as well.
Optimised Site Factors
From slow loading times to problematic display issues, onsite factors do play a part in your overall QA Score, so it is important that when the user lands on your site they are getting the experience that Google feels fitting of its user. Google has always rammed home how much it aims to serve the best results to its searchers, so therefore if you have a sit loaded with issues then your score is going to be affected, as this is one indication that your site does not deliver the best results when visited. Getting your onsite optimisation sorted is not only important for your natural rankings, but also when it comes to Adwords, and let’s not forget about the user as well, because if their experience is more enjoyable then the chances of a conversion and success are going to be raised, so it really is a win win.
One aspect of your QA score is how well your visitor reacts when they land on your site, so if your site does not really work well on a mobile and you are unlikely to get any conversions or on site decent times, then make sure you set a mobile bid adjustment to remove your adverts from displaying on mobile devices. It is important to remember that even if your adverts, keywords and ad groups are excellent and yet when the visitor lands on the site they quickly move on due to an initial bad experience, this is going to really lower your QA Score, so make sure you remove any devices that negatively perform.
Even if you are not worried about your score, removing devices that do not work or stand little chance of converting from your campaign is a cost effective way of making your budget go further and from a user interaction point of view, it means you are not wasting their time by sending them through to something that is simply not going to deliver what they want. Device management is now a critical element of Adwords and if you do not use it, you stand the chance of wasting a lot of money in areas that will offer little or no ROI.
Tweak And Improve
The final point is pretty much the same point we would make for any improvement article for Adwords, and the point is simple – make sure you do not just leave your account for a month and wonder why nothing has improved. With your quality score, you should be looking at the adverts and keywords and seeing which ones have a low CTR and potentially look at pausing them and replacing them with something else. For example, if one keyword has a CTR of 1.5% and another one has 0.2%, then it would be best to pause the lower one to make the higher one shine a bit more.
This is not a perfect science and you need to look at why the CTR is low before making such a decision, but generally, this is going to take time and requires you to make sure that over time, you tweak, amend and improve to get that score higher. If it is a new account then do not worry about a low QA score because Adwords works from historical data across many avenues so the score will only truly become reflective of your efforts once there is enough traffic and your own data to achieve this.
If you learn one thing from this article, make sure it is relevancy, because if you focus your efforts on making sure that your structure is relevant all the way through, from ad group to landing page, then your score is going to be heading in the right direction.